Surprisingly, the video was directed by Parris Mayhew, known for "Slam
" by Onyx and "We Gotta Know" for his '80s hardcore band Cro-Mags.
Most of the videos he makes are funded by record companies, but the "Say What You Mean" video was paid for out-of-pocket by Em and her mom, who is also her manager.
"When a record label is giving me $100,000 it doesn't really mean that much to me, because it's some corporation," he said in a Songfacts interview
. "But when an artist and her mom are saying, 'We're going to give you this money,' it was kind of a daunting thing."
"It's a beautiful song," he added. "I starting coming up with these ideas that I had no idea how to shoot. But I wrote the treatment out, sent it to them, and they said, 'Do that.' And one of the ideas was, she is in bed and it's raining, and all the raindrops are on the glass, and she gets out of bed and walks over to a real close-up, and when she gets close, she looks into all the beads of water on the window, and her reflection is in all the beads of water, singing the chorus back at her. So, she's singing the verse in the close-up, but her reflection is singing the back-up vocals."